Leadership, The Inner Side of Greatness: A Philosophy for Leaders

by Peter Koestenbaum
Reviewed by Josephine Gross, Ph.D.

What constitutes a true “leadership mind”? What goes on in the hearts and minds of great leaders that inspires their followers’ loyalty and initiative, that brings out the greatness in everyone with whom they come in contact?

Peter Koestenbaum demonstrates that when leaders get in touch with their deepest and most personal commitment to excellence, they bring intensity and meaning to their work that helps others discover their own potential for greatness. This book challenges you to ask the big questions: How do we move forward when the risks seem overwhelming? What does it mean to be a successful human being?

Unlike most how-to books on the subject, Leadership, The Inner Side of Greatness deals with the personal side of business leadership, including attention to inner depth, to feelings and to inward struggles. A great leader must “have great aspirations, confront great frustrations, achieve great self-control, suffer great betrayals and manifest great compassion.”

Deep thoughts and clever ideas, however, are not enough for a leader’s success, which is always tied to practical effectiveness and hard results. Koestenbaum invites you to develop a mindset capable of combining wisdom and profits, insight with survival, a flexible imagination with the uses of power, the soft with the hard. A leadership mind is all-encompassing.

How does this book help you think and act the way a leader does? Part One explores the dual need for Greatness in business: on the organizational level, it is required for business success; on the personal level, it is necessary for personal health and longevity.

Part Two introduces the Leadership Diamond, four dimensions in which the best leaders operate: Vision—Reality—Ethics—Courage. This model shows what you must know, learn and, most importantly, be in order to become a truly effective leader.

Part Three applies the Leadership Diamond to some private and business leadership situations, such as marriage and money, human resources and the arts, cultures, the Third World and other phenomena.

The Resource section at the end offers practical steps for the mental transformation required for exceptional and passionate leadership, including the use of affirmations and how to organize your leadership day.

Peter Koestenbaum has been thinking about philosophy in business for many decades. Professor emeritus from San Jose State University, he has acted as a behind-the-scenes sage for CEO’s of some of the world’s largest organizations. The general principles of successful leadership, however, apply to all people. If you have “the will to lead,” pick up this book and Koestenbaum will show you that “human depth makes business sense” and that the leader’s role is less to help than to enlarge the capacity for responsible freedom.

Hard cover, 369 pp
$36.45 Jossey-Bass Inc., 1991.

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